Microsoft's Zune Competes with Microsoft

I don’t get it. Should I be using Napster, URGE, or Zune? Should I be using the Clix or the Zune? Should I be using Windows Media Player 11 or the Zune Marketplace software? There are too many choices, many of which are not interoperable, coming to me from the same company: Microsoft. Instead of simplifying the market, they’ve made it slightly more complicated with Zune (and likely pissed off countless partners in the process).

So, on one hand, I’m being told that URGE in combo with WMP is the way to go. On the other hand, I’m being told that Zune is the way to go (hardware, software, subscription) is the way to go. I certainly appreciate that there’s somewhat of a unified experience with Zune, but… now I have one more subscription to worry about… one more piece of software to worry about… and yet more choices that seem to completely nullify earlier efforts of Microsoft (itself) and its partners.

That I can see, there’s no clear cross-over between the Zune and Windows Media Center, for me to take my recorded shows on the go (since the Zune plays video). There’s no interaction with any other Microsoft product other than Windows. There’s no path to personalized media (podcasting, DVD ripping, etc.). In the interviews I’ve read, all of this is by design.

It’s almost like Microsoft is competing with itself – like it’s taking a mulligan on all earlier efforts in the digital media space.

15 thoughts on “Microsoft's Zune Competes with Microsoft”

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  2. Chris you want everything but nothing at all. Between the way you critique Microsoft and apple I am get confused. Your mad at apple for not opening up the iPod/iTunes, now your mad cause Microsoft opened a new store for everyone to consume from. I just don’t get. hey why don’t you make one those cute cartoons for me.

  3. Chris,
    Thanks for your comments from a user’s point of view. It has gotten so confusing – anything having to do with MP3 -that I’ve decided to go back to enjoying my simple shelf top CD system.

    I sure hope the next wave is about less innovation and more improvement on what’s already there and works okay but could be better. I think we could all get behind that (I don’t know if big corporate boards of directors and major shareholders could, though.)

  4. KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid. Apple has 75% of the MP3 player market because the IPOD (the whole product line) is SIMPLE. SIMPLE makes it easy to market. It’s easy to market because simplicity makes it easy for Apple and more importantly consumers to pitch it. I’m a PC guy but I’ve sold at least a dozen people on the IPOD because the benefits of using it to manage music are easy to pitch in simple conversations without sounding like a total geek and I can feel good about pitching it because it just work. SIMPLE makes it easy to use and keep using. SIMPLE makes it easy for partners to invest in. SIMPLE makes it easy to cross-sell users into add-ons and small, medium, and large sizes of the same thing. SIMPLE is why iTV might get Apple into the livingroom in a big way.

  5. Chris –

    You’re so right on the money. As a PC user, Microsoft couldn’t have dropped the ball on this any harder. They’ve never figured out how to do the one-box-solution to digital media, instead opting to license their wares to anyone who thought they might take a crack at it on their behalf.

  6. Zune seems to be the only device that can compete with the ipod. And apple needs a competitor right now because they are going to stop to innovate. At the end, consumers are going to win with better and better players.

  7. It does interact with other Microsoft products, namely the 360. You can connect it to the 360 and stream videos, music, and photos. I’m almost positive more integration is coming down the line, or I may have to sell the Zune that I’m going to end up buying.

  8. I have to agree. Microsoft is making a complicated market. I’m an URGE subscriber (I don’t know for how long) so why should I think about purchasing a Zume. It seems to me that Zume is just another piece of proprietary crap like IPod. Why would you confuse the market when play for sure was just starting to roll? I also feel like going back to music pirating and cd burning. What a bunch of junk.

  9. I agree with Chris. Some of us don’t want another store. I want to take my recorded TV with me. That is the #1 reason for buying the Zune. You can imagine how I felt when I went to hook it up and I couldn’t download my record TV. Of course, Microsoft doesn’t want to hear feedback and doesn’t provide an outlet. I guess they’ll have to wait for the disappointing sales to learn.

    My Zune is going back to the store.

  10. There are people who actually buy the Zune? I have yet to see one on the street. I thought we all knew better than to buy yet another one of Microsofts rip offs. I mean why buy the pretender? When you can buy the real thing! (iPod)

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